Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013
For refugee families, encouragement from Hassan

I was very pleased that our new governor, Maggie Hassan, included in her important inaugural speech a reference to New Hampshire being a place that has welcomed immigrants in the past as it does now.

She specifically named the largest recent immigrant group, refugee families from Bhutan, among whom my family is one. Knowledge of her statement quickly spread among the 2,000 Bhutanese in Manchester, Concord and Laconia. We are proud of our heritage and also proud to be making new lives here in New Hampshire.

We cherish the fact that Hassan is aware of our presence and understands that we are becoming a new thread in the fabric of New Hampshire and the United States. Thank you, Governor!



A better plan for the homeless

Concord does not have enough places for the homeless. We have the McKenna House, which gets over-full, and we have a few churches that allow the homelesss to stay – but they only let them stay so long until they tell them to leave.

Everywhere the homeless go, they are kicked out. They were across from the Everett Arena in the woods for a while until it became clear that it was not safe for them to stay in the woods any longer.

Meanwhile, at 192 Loudon Road, the old empty movie theater sits and rots away because no one has the money to buy the property or the property owner has not decided what to do with the building.

Why can’t the property owners fix the leaky roof and make it suitable to open the doors to the homeless and put a sign up that states we are not liable if anything happens while inside or outside the building?

If we can open up a bigger building, maybe there would be a lot fewer people asking for money on the street corners.

We have really cold nights in Concord, and sleeping outside in the snow is not fun. At least they would be in a building where there are bathrooms and a place to sleep. There would be a lot of less stress on homeless people if they knew there was a bigger facility with running water for them to clean themselves up.

When it comes time for the property owners to sell the building or build something else on the site, at least they will have saved lives while they were using the empty building for homeless people.



Alternatives to fighting

At his recent press conference, Mr. NRA, Wayne LaPierre, said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” When a good guy with a gun came upon the scene of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’s shooting, he nearly drew on a bystander who was holding down the shooter. That looked like a bad guy to him, fast assessment. A good guy with a gun coming along can extend the emptying of weapons’ ammo. More chance for struck or dead bystanders.

The reasoning LaPierre uses is precisely the one that keeps our military spending rising way beyond the spending of all the rest of the world combined. The U.S. spends insanely into huge debt on our military (while other needs are neglected), so we can be the good guy with the gun coming along to take out the bad guy with the gun. We are the NRA to the rest of the world. No wonder LaPierre doesn’t see his reasoning as laughable.

For the cultural change we need, we must draw back from ammo-releasing and fighting as solution to problems. Exploration of options is needed. How else can we get to peace without obliteration being the result of our “helping”? I look for leadership that thinks this through and breaks the mold that gets us perpetual and costly war and war readiness. Everyday and non-stop war, sadly, accustoms us to death and murder. This can and must change.



Praying for peace, spoiling for a fight

In response to our persisting political division, it occurred to me that we humans have evolved from a species that fights to live to one that lives to fight. Fighting has become not a means to an end but an end itself.

Why else would we need enough firepower in our home to take out an entire village? Why would nations have a stockpile of weapons to scorch the earth several times over? Why else would politicians sworn to serve the people take us to the brink of disaster over and over? Why else would we choose to view carnage as entertainment and sport?

The history of civilization is punctuated by thousands of wars and billions of casualties because we have adopted the male principle of fight or flight in response to perceived danger. There is another principle, the feminine principle, that seeks to tend and mend others. This is the principle central to Christian teaching and other world religions.

Every new year, we long for peace but spoil for a fight. Until we can transcend this death instinct, we will continue to see more tragedies abroad and here at home. In 2013, let us pledge to reduce our hostile rhetoric and aggressive acts and love ur enemies as a great teacher instructed us to do 2,000 years ago.



Waste of time and energy

Given the length and breadth of the atrocity committed in Newtown, Conn., it is beyond belief that the government, politicians and news media would devote 99 percent of their time trying to convince the American public that gun legislation is the answer to prevent this from happening again. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gun legislation has been proven to be useless. It doesn’t work here and does not work in other countries. It doesn’t make you safer or prevent violent crime. We have thousands of gun laws on the books already.

If it is time for anything, it is time to look at solutions that might actually have a chance at saving lives. Spend 99 percent of your time looking into mental health issues. Put a psychiatrist and a psychologist in every school to monitor the students and identify and intercede a troubled student before he or she falls off the deep end. Get them the help they need to cope.

Guns are inanimate objects incapable of doing anything. Students, even smart ones, even geniuses can fall off the deep end. Help them before they become cold-blooded murderers. All this talk about firearms and what they look like, how they operate, how powerful they are and how many that are out there is a total waste of time and energy. By continuing to harp on guns again, you are becoming part of the problem because you are ignoring the fact that gun control doesn’t work and are not looking for solutions that could actually make a meaningful difference.